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gangotri gaumukh trek

Gangotri Gaumukh Trek

{Day1} : 26thMay 2009
From: Bangalore to Delhi
By: Air
Distance: 2 hrs 30 mins.

Morning we catch the airport bus to BIAl (Bangalore’s new international airport) and it took almost 1½ hr to reach there. As usual Jetlite flight to Delhi was delayed by 2-3 hrs and didn’t get any thing on board to eat except a stale muffin and a cold burger. We reached Delhi at 6.30pm in the evening and checked in Hotel Ajanta (pre-booked) near NDLS (New Delhi) station. We had our last chicken butter masala in dinner as the forthcoming weeks are going to be vegetarian.

Yes Uttarkhand is considered as a devbhumi (abode of Gods) and alcohol and non veg items are strictly prohibited.

A word of advice: Stay close to NDLS station. So it is easier to catch the early morning train.

{Day2} : 27thMay 2009
From: Delhi to Rishikesh
By: Train (2017 Dehradun-Shatabdi express) and
By Road (Haridwar – Rishikesh)
Distance: 4.5 hrs by Train and 45 mins by Road

We catch an early morning 6:50 am train Dehradun-shatabdi express (pre-reserved) to Haridwar. Reached there around 12:30 and booked a taxi to Rishikesh which is a 45 minute drive from Haridwar. We stayed at GMVN’s Ganga resort which has a very beautiful view of muni ki reti and Ramjhoola.

rishikesh

A view from Rishikesh

A word of advice: From Hardiwar Rly. Stn to Hotel in Rishikesh we had a bit of hassle getting a taxi as they were charging almost double. Finally we figured out that there is an approved taxi stand where the rates were reasonable. So please avoid the private taxi for this. Also avoid taking auto since they do not go all the way to Rishikesh from Haridwar and you will have to change autos midway ( they don’t tell you that when you start from Haridwar ! )

{Day3} : 28th May 2009
From: Rishikesh to Bhairon Ghati via Uttarkashi
By: Road
Distance: 280 Km (12 hrs)
(Note: Rishikesh – Uttarkashi is 150 km / 6 hrs)

At 6:00am in the early morning we were ready with our backpacks and luggage,  started for Uttarkashi at 7:30am and the journey to Himalayas begins….
As soon as we entered the hilly roads of Uttarakhand, BRO greets us-“Deepak bole jai badri vishal”…I wonder who is Deepak??? (later I came to know in Indiamike forum , that Deepak is one of the BRO’s prestigious project). Our jeep was speeding along the serpentine roads and down river Ganga meanders its way through the lush green valleys. For the next few hours we were completely soaked in the beauty of Himalayas.

Uttarkashi

On the way to Uttarkashi

Reached Uttarkashi at 1:30pm and after another 20 minute drive reached at Tekla-Kotbangla DFO(District Forest office) office for the Gaumukh trek permit…….tried to have lunch at Netala…..no not succeeded because of too much crowd…finally set forth for Bhairon ghati…en-route we cross Harsil and Dharali –the two beautiful Himalayan hamlets.
The road to Gangotri was in very pathetic condition dotted with landslides and ongoing construction works of HCC and NTPC.

Bhairon ghati is a very quiet, chilly and eerie kind of place dotted with few houses and no electricity, surrounded by towering hilly slopes and was covered in mist.
Since we booked our stay through GMVN and it was the peak Yatra season so has to adjust with some unfavorable places. On day 3 we traveled for approx.  280 km !!

A word of advice:
Take a copy of fax or application letter with you when going to DFO office.
Read more details on : How to get Gaumukh permit
Try to start early so you can arrive for lunch on time.
Try not to stay at Bhairon ghati. Harsil may be a better option.

Uttarkashi

Terrace farming @ Uttarkashi

{Day4}: 29th May 2009
From: Bhaironghati to Gangotri
By: Road
Distance: 10km

After having our breakfast at dhaba(a small street side eatery) the only one in the locality… we set forth for Gangotri at 8:00am. All the vehicles came to a halt just 2-3km before entering Gangotri….because of unavailability of parking space…we left the luggage in the vehicle and went to the rest house…got the luggage after 4 hrs.

Sudarshan peak

Sudarshan peak welcomes us in Gangotri

In the evening visit Gangotri temple, attend the Ganga aarti…shopped for trekking sticks…This day we actually kept for acclimatization for the next day Gaumukh trekking.

 

 

 

Gangotri temple

Gangotri temple

A word of advice: We recommend that you take one day to acclimatize to high altitude.
Start as early as possible due to traffic congestion on way to Gangotri. Vehicles are allowed all the way into Gangotri only if the vehicles which have gone earlier make their way back. This is strictly enforced and controlled by efficient traffic police and volunteers.

{Day5}: 30th May 2009
From: Gangotri to Bhojwasa
By: Trek
Distance: 14km

Early morning 6:30am, we were fully geared up for the trekking and packed the water bottles (2 lt), some dry fruits, biscuits and chocolates.

gangotri

Tapt kund or hot spring @ Gangotri

There is a flight of very steep stairs behind the Gangotri Temple from where most trekkers choose to start their trekking.We didn’t take this route …instead we took an alternate route or trail (guided by a local shop keeper) which is less steeper and after we walked for 40min we reached the gate of Gangotri National park...which opens at 6:00am…. This is where you need to show the permit. We completed the formality and were let inside.

After walking for 2-3km along the narrow trail which clings to the ever-changing mountain slopes on the way to the Bhagirathi we reached Devvan. After Devvan climbs become little steeper and began to feel the rarefied atmosphere. But the sights of Bhrigupanthi series of peaks were breathtaking.

bhrigupanth peaks

Bhrigupanthi series of peaks

Another 6 km followed by steep and gradual ascents and descents we finally reached Chirbasa (pine forest) which is 9km from Gangotri…took a break for 30 mins.…had handful of dry fruits and washed them down with glass of glucose water. Many named and unnamed peaks were peeping through the corridors and the beautiful landscape changes with every bend of the river….

Gaumukh trek

Trekking to Gaumukh

From Chirbasa to Bhojbasa (bhoj tree forest) it is 5km trek but it is strewn with landslides and steeper climbs….vegetation starts thinning out….our limited stock of water was exhausted and were completely depended upon the glacial water which was coming down from the streams. It will be unjustified to say that we were not exhausted…we were definitely exhausted but the sights of beautiful Himalayan peaks, the beautiful landscapes and the thirst to reach Gaumukh keeps the spirit alive….and finally after walking through the glacial moraines we reached Bhojbasa…at 4:30pm.

Bhagirathi peak

Bhagirathi peaks before engulfing in to the mist

The last rays of sun were still flickering in the glacial valley. Bhagirathi and its sister peaks stood majestically against the azure blue sky and welcome us in its kingdom.

We went to Ram baba ashram and were shown to our tent…..quickly we took as many snaps as possible before the darkness sets in the valley. At 7:30 pm we were served the hot khichdi as dinner which we finished in no time.

Bhojwasa

Camping @ Bhojwasa

Darkness slowly engulfs everything in its veil…the valley become as silent as dead….except for the monotonous sound of river Bhagirathi….

bhojwsa

Glacial valley @ Bhojwasa

A word of advice: Start early.
If you are physically fit and not carrying too much luggage, then guide is optional. The road is straight and well-marked and it is very unlikely to lose your way.
There are absolutely no refreshments available on the way, so carry some with you.
Gaumukh can only be seen from a 500m barrier. It is for your own safety.

{Day6}: 31st May 2009
From: Bhojwasa to Gaumukh to Gangotri and back to Uttarkashi
By: Trek and by road
Distance: 18km by trek and 6hr by road

Sleep allures us from a distance only so there was no question of waking up. At 5:00am in the morning we decided to start our trek for Gaumukh. The morning sun brought some warmth in the otherwise chilling valley and when the first rays of sun kisses the peaks of Bhagirathi, the God’s beautiful creation came into full life. For the next few minutes we marveled at this beauty.

Bhagirathi sister peaks

When the morning sun kisses the Bhagirathi sister peaks

After Bhojwasa there was no definite trail that will lead to Gaumukh, instead one has to find his way through the glacial moraines and rocky boulders.

shivling peak

Shivling peak on the way to Gaumukh

When we reached there, a rocky boulder claims “the altitude of Gaumukh is 4000mt above m.s.l.” (That was written in Hindi off course!!)
There is a barrier of 500m beyond which it is not permissible to enter. We took a comfortable place from where we can see the glacier which feeds the river Ganga-the lifeline of India.

Earth-watch: The world is witnessing global warming and it is very much clear here as in the retreat of the glacier. But we never realized it and still ignore it. While route to Gaumukh is pollution free , I would advice the traveler to see that they too take proper measure to not pollute it. On this trip I have saw some of the most dreaded pollution. Huge non-biodegradable plastic waste was simply lying in the slopes of valleys and along the streams.

On our way back to Bhojwasa and then to chirbasa I thought in retrospect that this is the trail which witness the man’s quest for unknown through the centuries, and today I am also leaving behind my footprints here.
I turned back to see Bhagirathi beaming in the morning sun and I promise to return back for more.
We reached Gangotri at 3:00pm in the afternoon, had our lunch and then started off to Uttarkashi and reached there at 9:00pm.

Follow our next trip to Kedarnath.

If you have any latest travel related news pertinent to these regions, do let us know, through comment section, it will help us to keep this post updated and for the benefits of other travellers too. Any latest news will be highly appreciated. 

 

 

34 Comments

  • Reply
    Gangotri Traveler
    May 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    The route from Uttarakashi to Gangotri is so scenic (and dangerous :). I really wish that the arrangement to stay at Bhujwasa is more systematic.

  • Reply
    Riyaz
    June 2, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Hi,

    Thanx for the excellent writeup, exhaustive information about the treks, permits etc.
    We too are planning to go for the Gaumukh Trip upto Tapovan in Jun 2nd week.
    Your blog and info has been a big boon for us
    Thanx
    Riyaz

    • Reply
      sukanya ghosh
      June 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

      thanx everyone for the wonderful feedback.
      happy trekking

  • Reply
    AAKASH GUPTA
    June 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    koi mujshey khai ki janat kha hai wo hai gangotri gaumukh trek par.
    aastha vishwas shardha and nirmal & pavitra dhara

    Shivling peak on the way to Gaumukh lock good

  • Reply
    gaumukh trek permit « saffronstreaks… a food and travel blog
    September 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

    […] Read our trekking experiences at Gangotri – Gaumukh trek […]

  • Reply
    varsha
    November 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

    this posts has kindled the sleeping traveller/trekker in me !Love the pics and the helpful suggestions.

  • Reply
    chopta and tungnath
    March 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    […] Rishikesh – Gangotri – Gaumukh trek and […]

  • Reply
    badrinath, joshimath and auli
    March 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    […] Rishikesh – Gangotri – Gaumukh trek […]

  • Reply
    Kedarnath temple
    May 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    […] kedarnath – May 5, 2010Posted in: > Uttarkhand, India, Travels Continuing from our previous Rishikesh to Gangotri – Gaumukh trek […]

  • Reply
    Apu
    June 3, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Chanced upon your blog via indiblogger! This log post brought back many memories. I did this trek the year of the Uttarkashi earthquake – Harsil was our base! Though I have visited Gangotri thrice, this was my first trek to Gomukh! The entire trip was amazing and I will never forget it as the earthquake struck on the day we left Harsil.

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      July 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Oh I can uderstand, we still cannot forget those beautiful moments at Gaumukh, and the beauty is so breathtaking, hope that earthquake has not affected your trekking to gaumukh.

  • Reply
    prashant
    July 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Hi, its very much informative. Suppose I reached gaumukh and I want to continue till Tapovan, is the route manageable or guide is required to tapovan? in case, can we get guide at Gaumukh or Bhojwasa? Secondly, camping at Bhojwasa will be available all time?

    Awaiting response, thanks.

    Prashant.

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      July 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Prashant and we are glad to know that the posts has proved helpful to you. If you want to trek till tapovan few things need to consider first :
      i) you will need a permit to trek till tapovan and that permit has to be obtained from the DFO office at Uttarkashi. This has to be pre-deicded, you cannot decide it once you reached gaumukh. Chek this link for obatining permit : http://saffronstreaks.com/travels/gaumukh-trek-permit/
      ii) For tapovan, a guide is must as per the rules, permit is required for him too; however trekking till gaumukh can be manageable without guide.
      iii) Hiring a guide at bhojbasa is unlikely, however, you may get one if luck is on your side. So hiring a guide at gangotri is more advisable.
      iv) Trek season streched till late october or early November depending upon that year snow prediction, so camping at bhojwasa will be available till that time. Trekkers continuing beyond gaumukh will have to walk on the glaciers, so appropriate clothing and shoes will be required, in addition to the proper camping gear etc. There is no well maintained camping facilities at Tapovan, trekkers needs their own tenting gear to camp there.

      In addition to the above if you requires any more help, do let us know. You can approach lots of seasoned trekkers at Indiamike.com (http://www.indiamike.com/india/trekking-and-mountaineering-in-india-f89/regarding-gaumukh-tapovan-trek-t41208/) for your other queries too.
      Happy trekking
      Saffronstreaks

  • Reply
    Prashant
    July 4, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Safffrontreaks,
    Thanks a lot for very helpful response. You are doing a great job. Keep it up. One of the blog where a got a prompt and very good response. Thanks very much.

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      July 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      We are so glad that the info helped you in your trekking plans and thanks so much for the complements

  • Reply
    s k kapoor
    July 19, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Deepak–BRO is also a semi army organisation. projects are given some formation sign –sort of–this side it is Deepak. therefore it is being advertised—–Deepak welcomes you all

  • Reply
    Shankar
    October 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    hi sukanya… thanks for ur blog, its really helpful for us who are going first time… can u share ur mail id..need some detailed info??….

    shankar3758@gmail.com

    shankar.

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      October 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks Shankar for your feedbacks on the post and we would be glad to help you in any way.

  • Reply
    subba ram
    January 9, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Dear Friends ,
    It was a pleasant experience going through experiences of different individuals in your blog , we are a group of 10 ,4 in our 50s and 6 in their 20s , we are planning the gangotri gaumukh trek in month of May 3rd week. I was told that sheets of ice and boulders of ice would make the trek very difficult during that particular time and that ponies are not allowed since 2012. could any body advice us and give your valuable opinion reg. my above query

  • Reply
    Milind Pande
    April 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Dear Saffronstreaks,

    I do appreciate the information given in your blog. I was looking out for such an information for last 2-3 weeks. Finally I got it. Thanks.
    We, a group of 4 ( 2 in 50s & 2 mid 40s) are planning to drive to Gangotri on 24 May and would be tracking to Gaumukh. I read in your blog that the road condition is pathetic from Gangotri to Gaumukh. What is your take if one asks you to drive?

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      April 18, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Hi Milind
      We are so pleased to know that the blog has helped you in planning the trip.

      I have mentioned in the blog that the approach road to Gangotri was not good (in 2009 ) due to the construction works. The current situation may have changed by this time. Please verify it before leaving for gangotri. Except waiting for 3-4 hours extra we did not face much problem.

      Gangotri to Gaumukh is trek route, check the pictures above to get the idea of the trek route. You have to be little careful while trekking and thats all. And yes you have to get the permits for gaumukh trekking from DFO’s office.
      Thanks
      Sukanya

  • Reply
    Mayank
    April 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    hey great blog just stumbled on to it as i was planning my trip to gaumukh .It is very informative and has already helped a lot .
    One thing though i would say as i am from dehradun that
    ” Yes Uttarkhand is considered as a devbhumi (abode of Gods) and alcohol and non veg items are strictly prohibited.” its actually not true

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      April 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you so much Mayank that our story helped you in planning Gaumukh trek. Hope you had a wonderful experience.
      Good to know that Uttarkhand has no such restrictions but I think Haridwar still has this restriction. I will edit it later.

      Sukanya

  • Reply
    T S Balasubramanian
    August 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    any one interested to join me for panch kedar yatra (except kedarnath which most of you would have had darshan) in the month of Sep 1st week.If so get in touch with me
    Balasubramanian -Chennai
    9789885043

  • Reply
    santosh
    January 15, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    hello ,
    i m from pune ,single ,anybody interested for gaumukh trek 2016, i have visited to gangotri in 2013
    Please contact on my Email below:
    my email -santoshpawar05@yahoo.in

  • Reply
    Reuilly
    April 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Sukanya ! Very nice write-up! Did you go to Gomukh with some trekking company/ group? Actually my parents who are into trekking since many years are willing to go to gomukh this year. Do you know any other trekking group which takes trekkers there? Thanks 🙂

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      April 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Thank you so much. We did Gomukh as a couple, though we did hired a guide but you can manage on your own. I am not much aware of any trekking group, but there are some in uttarkashi and ingangotri itself you can hire guides too.

  • Reply
    srividya Padmanabhan
    May 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Can you recommend good accommodation at Gangothri and is there anything to see around gangothri ?

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      May 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Hi, We stayed at gmvn accomodation at Gangotri and is pretty good at that place. Though it is recommended to book their accommodation months before you plan to travel. At Gangotri most of the people stays there for trekking to Gaumukh and tapovan and if you are not trekkers then you can visit gangotri temple, nearby places like harsil (known for its beautiful meadows and apple orchards). Gangotri itself is beautiful place, you can see snow peaked mountain peaks from there but if you are not trekking then a day and half is okay.

  • Reply
    neerajvayu
    October 19, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    i had been there last week and it was awesome exp from delhi to gomukh to delhi i finished in 5 days

  • Reply
    Subrat Patra
    October 22, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Hi, What is the correct time for Gangotri-Gaumukh trek. and till which month the trek remains open?

    • Reply
      saffronstreaks
      October 23, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Usual time for gangotri-gaumukh trek is between march (right after snow begin to melt) – early June, depending upon the weather of that year. again after monsoon, like September is heavy season for trekking in that area.

      • Reply
        Subrat Patra
        October 23, 2017 at 3:31 pm

        Thank you. Can you please tell me if there is frequent and proper bus transportation available from Rishikesh to gangotri through out the year. or it’s closed during winter?
        Would it be good choice to take the Bus transportation or to opt for personal Cab?

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